That’s all, folks!

Well, the 2014 Falcon Watch is officially over — actually, it’s been over for more than a week, but I’m only now getting around to recapping the final two days.

On Friday, July 4, I took the first shift but had little to report by the end of it. John, Chris and Kevin took over at 9 a.m., then Eleanor and Steve came in the afternoon. Steve stayed with me for the first part of the evening shift, the Pauline came at 7. The day was filled with napping, flying, eating, more napping and more flying.

For some reason, the annex roof has proved popular with these chicks, with one or two of them spending long stretches of time there not because they were unable to land on the main building (a common reason for fledglings to end up on the annex), but because they clearly wanted to be there.

Luis followed one of his parents across Bronson and Heron, and flew all the way to the Canada Post building, where it perched for a while before disappearing from our sight. Clover and Clementine, meanwhile, did some synchronized flying closer to home, with dad Ivanhoe keeping watch. One tried and failed to land on a security camera — a fledging rite of passage we’ve witnessed before. The cameras are a favourite perch of the adults, so it’s not surprising to see the chicks wanting to emulate their parents. But it is often funny.

On the annex.

On the annex.

On the annex again.

On the annex again.

It was a relatively quiet afternoon for Steve and Eleanor, and much of the same for Pauline and me on the last shift. More, longer, more confident flights, with the chicks usually landing where they planned. All signs pointed to Luis, Clover and Clementine not needing us anymore, so I decided to wrap up the Falcon Watch after one more day.


Not on the annex!

Pauline settles in for the last shift.

Pauline settles in for the late shift.

On Saturday, July 5, I took the first shift, and noticed a pattern developing: (1) Falcon chicks sit in one place for a while, lulling you into complacency. (2) Parents or random impulses inspire all three chicks to fly at once, causing you to spring into action, then quickly realize you just can’t keep up with an entire family of rather rapid raptors. (3) Watch as the falcons disappear from view, and hope they come back eventually. (4) Wait several minutes or hours until the chicks reappear. (5) Repeat.

Moira and Susanne, with her very funny friend Lucie in tow, took the second shift, and I stayed a while to chat. We watched all three chicks fly west together and disappear from our view. As I headed home by bike, I saw where they were: perched on the roof of the CSEC building on the other side of Bronson, where their conversation was no doubt being closely monitored.

Security breach at CSEC! July 5, 2014.

Security breach at CSEC! July 5, 2014.

Reviewing the notes, I see that the morning’s highlights included a Chipping Sparrow tackling a large, orange moth; two men with binoculars dropping by; and Susanne finding one of the chicks perched in a tree near Bronson. So, all in all an eventful shift!

Eleanor and Heather, there for the afternoon shift, reported nothing out of the ordinary (not even among the Chipping Sparrows?). Nor did Pauline, who began the last shift alone because I had the watch the Netherlands-Costa Rica match.

I arrived after the game with Alex, Alix and Bobby in tow. Alex is my husband. Alix and Bobby, with their looooong and TALL bikes, respectively, were staying with us for a couple of nights on their way from Mexico to Toronto. Okay, that’s not a very direct route, but it’s one hell of an adventure. You can read about their bike tour at Anyway, they’d recently taken an interest in birds, so they were thrilled to see the Peregrines up close through my scope.

As night began falling, I took a few last photos of the local groundhogs — the falcons chicks aren’t the only teenagers at the Data Centre — and of two of the young Peregrines on the annex roof, silhouetted against the setting sun.

It seemed like a fitting finale for a fantastic Falcon Watch.




Sunset at the Data Centre.

3 thoughts on “That’s all, folks!

  1. Hi,
    Every morning at seven when going in to work I would hear them. I haven’t heard them this week and the gulls are back. Are they gone already?

    • They may be spending more time away from the building as the chicks learn to fend for themselves — I saw one of the juveniles getting a hunting lesson in the Glebe last weekend. The adults will stick around all year, but the young ones will disperse within the next month or so.